Brazil had the largest slave population in the world, substantially larger than the United States. The Portuguese who settled Brazil needed labor to work the large estates and mines in their new Brazilian colony. They turned to slavery which became central to the colonial economy. It was particularly important in the mining and sugar cane sectors. Slavery was also the mainstay in the Caribbean islands with economies centered on sugar. Estimates suggest that about 35 percent of captured Africans involved in the Atlantic slave trade were transported to Brazil. Estimates suggest that more than 3 million Africans reached Brazil, although precise numbers do not exist. Brazil had begun to turn to slavery in the 15th century as explorers began moving along the coast of Africa. With the discovery of the Americas, the Portuguese attempted to enslave the Native American population as well. This did not prove successful. The Native Americans died in large numbers, both because of slave rading, mistreatment, and the lack of resistance to European diseases. The Portuguese found captured Africans to be a valuable trading commodity as Europeans began to settle the Caribbean islands. They also began transporting Africans to their Brazilian colony. Portuguese Prime Minister Marqués de Pombal abolished slavery in Portugal (February 12, 1761). The Portuguese action, however, did not address slavery in the colonies. Slaver ownership was widely practiced. Brazilians of all classes owned slaves. Slaves were not only owned by upper and middle class Brazilians, but also by lower class Brazilians. There were even slaves who owned other slaves. Slavery has a huge impact on Brazil. It affected both the economy and the ethnic make up of the Brazilian population. The importation of such a large number of Africans into a colony with such a small number of Portuguese, profoundly affected the ethnic ballance. The level of Africam imports also meant thsat unlike North America, Africam culture was not largely wiped out and thus had a significant impsct on Brazilian culture (food, music, dance and religious practices). This is especiuallt the case in Rio and the northwast where many of the slaves were concentrated.
With the discovery of the Americas, the Portuguese attempted to enslave the Native American population. There is a debate among historians as to the population of the Amazonian native Americans. Some believe that the Hative Americans in the Amazon basin was much more substantial than earlier believed and they had developed a sophisticated agricultural system. There is no disagreement as to the Portuguese effort to enslave the native American people. After the original Conquistadores, the enslavement effort was conducted by the Bandeirantes. These were adventurers operating from São Paulo. Most were of mixed Portuguese-Native American origins. They moved into the interior to find Native Americans they could capture and enslave. As there were no roads, they operated along rivers, including the Amazon and its tributaries, attacking villages, killing those who resisted and enslaving those they could capture. The result was that large areas of the Amazon were depoulated. Here disease was another major factor. Some authors now believe that the Native Americans moved away from the major rivers and adopted more primitive life style less dependant on agriculture. This is one reason why many modern authors concluded that the original Native American population of the Amazon was small. The Jesuits in the south and in Paraguay organized the Guarani along military lines into missions called Reductions which were able to fight off the Bandeirantes. Here in addition to protectging the Native Anericans there was an ekement of Portuguese-Spanish rivalry. António Raposo Tavares organized a bandeira force consisting of 2,000 allied Native Americans, 900 mestizos (called Mamluks at the time) and 69 white Paulistanos (1628). They set out to find gold and other precious metals and stones as well as to capture Native Americans to enslave. The Raposo expedition found little gold, but they attacked destroyed most of the Jesuit missions in Spanish Guaraní and enslaved and estimated 60,000 of the Guaraní. The Native Americans, however, did not solve the Portuguese need for labor. The enslaved native Americans, as in the Caribbean, died in large numbers, the victim of both maltreatment and European diseases.
The accumulating knowledge of geopgraphy and improvements in shipbuilding and navoigation led Prince Henry and King John II of Portugal to seek a route to the Indies through the still largely unknown Atlantic. Portuguese mariners began sailing south along the coast of Africa. Information provided by travelers was refined by explorers who began to sail south along the African coast. Each voyage added to the accumulating data and gradually improving maps and charts. The Portuguese eventually reached the equator (1471). One unaswered question of history is just how much Portuguese navigators knew. Some historians argue that it was the Portuguese who first discovered the America, landing in Brazil. Even a cursory study of the may suggests that Portuguese saemen sailing south must have stumbled on the buldge of Brazil where it juts out ibnto the South Atlantic. Unfortunately we will never know as the famed Portuguese archive was lost to fire. We do know, of course, that Bartholomeu Dias reached the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa (1486), showing that Ptolemy was wrong about the possibility of a sea route to Asia. Vasco da Gama reached India (1498). Portugal was thus the first European nation to reach India, the Indies, and China. Soon after Columbus first reached Ameruica, Pedro Alvares Cabral (1467-1520) discovered Brazil (1500). Gaspar Corte Real sailed to North America and although he founded no colony helped to found a flourishing fishery. Ferdinand Magellan (1480?-1521) served in the forces of the Portugese crown involved in military campaigns in India and the Spice Islands (1508-12). Magellan conceived of reaching the Spice Islands (Indonesia) via the Atlantic, but King Emanuel was uninterested, causing Magellan to renounce his Portuguese citizenship.
The Portuguese when they founded their Brazilisn colony, like the Spanish, attempted to enslave Native Americans. Unlike the Craribbean islands, the Native Americans in Brazil could flee to the interior where the Portuguese could not reach them, although slaving raids were conducted up the Amazon. Native Americans who did not flee were decimated by the European diseases the Portuguese carried. Brazil had begun to turn to slavery in the 15th century as explorers began moving along the coast of Africa. With the discovery of the Americas, the Portuguese attempted to enslave the Native American population as well. This did not prove successful. The Native Americans died in large numbers, both because of slave rading, mistreatment, and the lack of resistance to European diseases. The Portuguese found captured Africans to be a valuable trading commodity as Brazilian planters needed workers ad Europeans began to settle the Caribbean islands. They also began transporting Africans to their Brazilian colony.
Portugal at the time of the conquest was a country just emerging from feudalism with an impoverished peasantry. Brazil offered rich agricultural land that was just not available in Portugal itself. At first the Portuguese gave relatively little attention to Brazil. The Portuguese Conquistadores found little gold and the primary focus at the time was primarily on the emsensly profitable trade opend with the East (India, Indonesia, and China). THus for the first three decadeds Brazil languished. This lack of attention to establishing a colony in Brazil, let to incursions by other European countries. The Portuguese Crown to combat this created a system of occupying the coast without the sunstantial costs of establishing a colony and maintaining aarge military force. The Crown created the Hereditary Captaincies system, The King divided Brazil into strips of land that were entrusted to noblemen. Theyanswered to the king and occupying and developing their land grant was done at their expense. It took some tgime for the monrchy to realize that the Captaincies system was not working. Only two of the land grants were actually occupied by the nobelmen to which the land was granted (Pernambuco and São Vicente in the modern state of São Paulo).
Brazil produced little income for Portugal in sharp contrst to the Spanish colonies (especially Mexico and Peru-Bolivia where gold and siklver was discovered. One of the few important resources found in Brazil was what came to be called brazilwood (Caesalpinia echinata). This was alarge tree. The trunk was found to contain contains a prized red dye. Exploitation nearly wiped out the trees. Portuguese settlement of Brazil was initually confined to the coastal regions. The exploration of the interior was liited and largely confined to para-military adventurers--the bandeirantes. They followed the rivers into the interior, looking for gold and Native Americans who could be enslaved. Theresult was to depopulate large areas of the interior along the major rivers.
The Portuguese begun to turn to African slavery in the 15th century as explorers began moving south along the coast of Africa, looking for a route ast to th Indies and China. In the process they essentilly invented the Atlantic slave trade as part of the voyages of discovery. It was not the beginning of the Africa slave trade. This was ib=nventedvby the Arabs in the Indian Ocean (8th century). Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal sent a trading expedition to Africa, to explore the little known continent (1441). The Portuguese found captured Africans to be a valuable trading commodity as Europeans began to settle the Caribbean islands. They also began transporting Africans to their Brazilian colony. They were less suseptable for genetic reasons to both tropical and European diseases. Africans from various regions were transported to Brazil from various regions in increasingly large numbers as the colony developed. Large numbers came from the developing Portuguese colonies in Africa, but were not limited to those regions. Ther were slaves from both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean coast. Atkantic-coast slaves came from Cape Vert (a transhipment point) and southern Africa such as Angola. Slaves also campe from the Indian Ocean coast, especially Mozambique. Of course many slaves came from the interior and and were only shipped from the two coasts. A cargo of 235 captive Africans was brought to Lagos in Portugal. The Portuguese began using enslaved Africans on sugar plantations in Madeira, a Portuguese island off the west coast of Africa (1460). It was the Portuguese who built the first slave fort, meaning a fotified positions where cptive Africans could be held for transport-- Elmina Castle (1481). It was located along the coast of what is now Ghana. That area became known as not only the Gold Coast, but also the slave coast. Elmina Castle became the headquarters of the Portuguese slave traders. As large numbers of captive Africans began to be transported, Portugal was the major purveor. Portugal held the asiento (contract) to supply the Spanish colonies with slaves. This meant that as well as supplying Brazilian plantations, the Portuguese were supplying Spanish plantations in the Caribbean. This was before the Sugar Boom and massive numbers of slaves were transported. Other countries began entering the lucrative eterprise. Evebtually the Portuguese would transport some 4.7 million captive Africans for slavery in the New World.
The Portuguese brought sugar cane to Brazil early in the colonial period, but the sugar industry developed slowly. It was a relatively new crop to the Europeans and it was a labor-intensive crop. This proved a problem because the Native Americans the Portuguese attempted to enslave did not prove suitable. Sugar would prove central to Brazilian economy aswell as to the history of Brazilian slavery. It was sugar that made Brzilian plantations really profitable and this fueled the demand for the large numbers of slaves needed to work them. The settlers first tried to enslave the Natives to work the developing plantations. The Native Americans proved unsuitable, primarily because the died in large numbers when exposed to European diseases. As a result, the settlers began to turn to Africans. The Portuguese ha begun to trade in captive Africanas, albeit in small numbers, as they began moving south down the coast of Africa (15th century). The first Brazilian sugar plantation was operating very early in the colonial era (1518). The industry grew very rapidly. Martim Afonso de SousaThe founded the first colony(1532). One report suggests that Santa Catalina Island had some 800 operating sugar cane mills (1540). The Brazilian sugar industry boomed and the colony became Europe's main supplier of sugar. Sugar at the time did not come from the Caribbean in any quantity. Until this the Arabs had been the main supplier, but a astronomical prices making it a luxury for the nobility and wealthier merchants. Brazil changed this. With the large quanities of Brazilian sugar reaching Europe at more reasonable prices, a much larger market began to grow. And Brazil, especially the northern coast, privided virtually perfect conditions for raising sugarcane. Planters cleared more an more land for sugar cane, Sugar production and exports began to reach large quantitirs (late-16th/early-17th centuries). The sugar cane was grown on plantation called 'engenhos' (factories). The Brazilian Nordeste became the core of the colony's economy and society. There were also plantations on Santa Catarina Island in the south which was originally founded by the Spanish. The modern states of Pernambuco, Paraiba, Bahia, and Sergipe became the center of the Brazilian sugarcane industry. Sugar turned the small Bahia settlements of Salvador and Olinda into some of the thriving ports in the world as theSugar Boom took hold. And this in turn significantly fueded the demand for slaves to work the plantations. Most of the slaves were brought fro Portuguese trading posts in western and southern Africa. Later the slaves for Brazil would come from the Portuguese-controlled areas of southern Africa (Angola and Mozambique). The Portuguese became leaders in the Atlantic slave trade and the major destination was Brazil. Over a third of all the slaves tranported to the Americas were landed in Brazil, the great majority to work on the sugar plantations.
The Dutch incursions into Brazil proved the greatest threat to the Portuguese. The Portuguese became involved with the Hapsburg attmpt to supress the Reformation in Germany and the related rebellion of the Dutch. A succession crisis in Portugal led to a personal union under the Habsburg rule after the War of the Portuguese Succession, Spanish King Philip II of Spain thus controlled Portugal as part of the Iberian Union (1580). This meant that Portugal and Brazil became involved in the Dutch War of Independence (1581-1648). Philip II prohibited trade with the Dutch (1581). The Dutch were at a disadvantage in land warfare with the Spanish, but their expanding naval fleet gave them the ability to strike at the colonies.
The result was the Dutch-Portuguese War (1602-61). The War was waged by the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company against the Portuguese Empire. The War primarily involved Dutch privateers attacking Portuguese colonies in the Americas, Africa, India and the Far East. The war was essentially an extension of the Dutch War for Independence, sometimes called the Eighty Years War, fought in the European Low Countries by Spain. The conflict provided the opportunity for the Dutch to gain an overseas empire and weaken the Portuguese. English forces aided the Dutch to an extent, but also fought a series of naval wars with the Dutch. Spanish forces aided the Portuguese. And the sugar wealth of Brazil was an attraction. Brazil did not have a navy as such, but they conducted naval war with privateers. Queen Elizabeth in England did the same, but focused more on the Spanish. The Dutch, an important 17th century naval power, seized Bahia for a brief period. Dutch privateers began plundering the largely unprotected Brazilian coast. They sacked Bahia and even captured the capital Salvador for a brief period (1604).
The Dutch also attacked the Portuguese African possessions. This was an attmpt to seize control of the profitable slave trade which at the time was dominated by the Portuguese. Elmina and other Portuguese Gold Coast trade posts were taken and Luanda was put to siege. As a result, the flow of West African slaveswas interupted and from this point most BraziliAn slaves were imorted from southern Africa.
The Dutch seized coastal Brazilian ports in the northeast. The Dutch attacked Salvador in Bahia (northern Brazil) which was at the time the capital (1624 and 1627) but failed both times to hold the city. Subsequently they landed even further north along the northeastrn coast in Pernambuco where there were fewer Portuguese settlers (1630). The Dutch controlled northern Brazil for more than two decades. One impact of their presence was a boost to the sugar industry, a hugely valuable commodity at the time. The economics of sugar meant that it became the leading crop in Brazil. Dutch investors commited considerable funds. This was coordinated through the Dutch West India Company. While the Dutch controlled the Nirtheast, they were in a constant state of siege. The principal figure was John Maurice of Nassau who served as governor in Recife. It was a period of constant warfare with the Portuguese. The result of Dutch Portuguese War was that Portugal retained its possessions in South America and Africa, but lost possessions in the Far East and South Asia. The greatest victgor may have been the English who benefitted by the decades long war between its two main rivals in the Far East. The Dutch were ultimately forced to relinquish control of northern Brazil (1654). The principal result of the Dutch experiebce in Brazil was that when they were finally expelled, they brought sugar industry technology to the Caribbean. And this meant that the Portuguese in Brazil no longer dominated the sugar trade.
Colonial Brazil developed the largest slave population in the world, substantially larger than that of the United States. The Portuguese who settled Brazil needed labor to work the large estates and mines in their new Brazilian colony. They turned to slavery which became central to the colonial economy. It was particularly important in the mining and sugar cane sectors. Slavery was also the mainstay in the Caribbean islands with economies centered on sugar. Estimates suggest that about 35 percent of captured Africans involved in the Atlantic slave trade were transported to Brazil. Estimates suggest that more than 3 million Africans reached Brazil, although precise numbers do not exist. Slavery was widely practiced. Brazilians of all classes owned slaves. Slaves were not only owned by upper and middle-class Brazilians, but also by lower-class Brazilians. There were even slaves who owned other slaves. And even though Brazil had the largest slave poplation in the world, the numbers of people impacted are much larger than commonly portrayed. Brazilian sugar plantations were essentially death camps. If the demographic impact of the massive death toll at the sugar plantations are computed the numbers would be staggering.
Landless Portugese peasants did not emigrate to Brazil in large numbers. And pesants were not about to come to work on sugar plantations. This mean there was no substantial labor force for the colony. The Portuguese tried to use the Amerindians. But they began dieing in large numbers. It was unlnown why at the time. It was thoughtvthat they were not very hearty. We now know it was the lack of resistance to European diseases. So a new source of labor had to be found which of course meant enslaving captive Africans.
Captives from different African regions were transported to Brazil. This included Africams from West Africa, Cape Vert, Angolsa, Mozambique and from interior regions. Large numbers of Africans were obtained from southern Africa (Angola and Mozambique) where the Portuguese had a dominant role. Some Africans from these areas were transported to the Caribbean and the United States as well, but the shipments to Brazil were especislly significant. The dimensions of the slave trade are not known with any precession. Estimtes vary from 3-5 million Africans transported to Brazil. This is a substsantial proportion of the overall Atklantic slave trade. One historian estimsates about 3.6 million Africans transported to Brazil. [Taunay]. He estimated that most were brough to brazil in he 18th ad 19th century: 0.1 million (16th century), 0.6 million (17th cenury), 1.3 million (18th century), and 1.6 million (19th century). The level of slave shipments during the 19th century is notable given the fact that the Royal Navy was engaged in a major campaign to end the slave trade at the time. About 40 percent of the estimated 11 million Africans transported in the Atlantic slave trade went to Brazil.
Portuguese Prime Minister Marqués de Pombal abolished slavery in Portugal (February 12, 1761). The Portuguese action, however, did not address slavery in the colonies. Portugal was another important country involved in the slave trade. Portugal lost its Brazilian colony when it became indepenent (1822). This meant that Portugal was no longer involved as a destination country. Portugal still controlled African colonies where Africans were seized for slavery. This was espcially true in its southern colonies (Angola and Mozambique). Portugal abolished the slave trade (1836). The Royal decree also limited the number of slaves to be transported by colonists, committing to punish Portuguese slave traders, and authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for the slave trade. We are unsure just what convinced Portugal to take this major decession. The British Parliament passed an act giving the Royal Navy the authority to stop Portuguese slavers vessels and submit them to British Vice-Admiralty courts (1839). Portugal signed another treaty with Britain giving British Royal Navy ships the Right of Search, authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for slave trade, establishing Mixed Commissions, declaring the slave trade to be an act of piracy, regulating the number of slaves to be carried by Portuguese subjects, declaring that liberated slaves are to be given over to the government whose vessel seized the slaver (1842).
Slavery in Brazil is strongly associated withb plantation agriculture, especially the sugar industry. Slavery became particularly important in the mining and sugar cane sectors. use the working conditions in both sectors were not conusive for free labor. The sugar industry was the most important at it was here that most of Brazil's slaves were employed. Slavery was also the mainstay in the Caribbean islands with economies centered on sugar. The Portuguese who settled Brazil needed labor if they were to develop large estates and mines in their new Brazilian colony. They turned to sugar and slavery which became central to the colonial economy. Slaves were set to the back-breaking task of digging large trenches using hoes. They then planted the cane in the trenches and used bare hands to spread manure for fertilizer. Cutting the matured can was another major effort requiring manual labor. Brazil became the world's largest producer of sugar. The sugar industry began on the Caribbean islands. The Dutch helped bring it to Brazil. Eventually the huge Brazilian estates increased production to the point that it brought down sugar prives, affected the profitability of production on the Caribbean sugar islands. Some Brazilian planters began to turmn tp coffee (1830s). This was at the time of the Great Bahia Slave Revolt (1835). It was at the very last phase of slavery in Brazil as pressure from abroad was beginning to move Brazil toward emancipation. Rubber plantations appeared in the late-19th century. By this time, Brazil had ended slavery. Native Americans, however, experienced slave-like conditions a msany of these plantations.
The economics of slavery in Brazil were extreemely beneficial for the slave owners. Estimates suggest that an adult slave could repay the cost of purchase in 2-3 years. Plantation owners, mostly producing sugar, could thus make huge profits. The exceedingly difficult labor involved in growing sugar cane meant that it was difficult to attract free labor. Prices for slaves varied substantially. Miners needed men who were healthy, young and strong and were prepared to pay the highest prices.
Brazil developed the largest slave population in the world, substantially larger than the United States. While there are no precises statistics on the domensions of tghe slave trade, historians have addressed the subject. Estimates suggest that about 35 percent of captured Africans involved in the Atlantic slave trade were transported to Brazil. Estimates suggest that more anout 3.6 million Africans reached Brazil. Most arrived as the colony developed in the 18th century and during the Empire (19th century). Unlike most other South Amerian countries, slavery and the import of slaves did not end with independence. One of the most accepted estimates suggest that the slave trade transports involved: 16th century (0.1 million), 17th century (0.6 million), 18th century (1.3 million), and 19th century (1.6 million). [Taunay] The dimensions of 19th century transports are particularly notable because at the time the British effort to end the slave trade was active. The effiort was largely conducted by the British Royal Navy which was actively attempting to supress the slave trade. The lack of cooperation from Portuguese colonial authorities in Africa and authorities in Brazil as well as the relstively short routes made the Royal Navy's efforts particularly difficult.
Escaped slaves in the United States did not perform important run-away or Maroon communities, except for a short time in Florida. Escaped slaves in the United States attempted to cross the Ohio River and reach the northern free states or Canada. In the Caribbean and South America Maroon communities played important roles: Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Suriname. They were imoprtant enough in Jamaica and Suriname that treaties were vnegotiated wth them by colonial authorities. They were also important in Brazil where they were called 'quilombos'. The Muslim Sudanese were seen by the Brazilians as the most civilized and became the leaders of rebellious groups. The run-away groups varied substantially in organization and sophistication. The more important 'quilombo' was the Palmares which operated in the interior of Alagoas (17th century). Alagoas thus became the center of the domestic resistance to slavery. Both the Dutch and Portuguese battled with the slaves there. At a fairly early point in Brazilian history (mid-17th century). Colonial chroniclers described runaway slaves. There were numerous accounts of Palmares, the most important of all the many quilombos. Palmares was a federation of Maroon settlements. There is no precise account of the population. Contemporary sources vary widly. We have noted estimates rnging from 10,000 - 30,000 people. Its several constituent settlements were located on the Serra da Barriga, a mountain chain in the interior backlands of what was at the time the Captaincy (region) of Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, the modern Brazilian state of Alagoas.
A legendary figure emerged from Alagoas--Zumbi. Portuguese authorities arrested and executed him (1695).
Africans were delivered to the major ports (Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife and São Luis). Here they were held in a shack until they were sold.
Portuguese Prime Minister Marqués de Pombal abolished slavery in Portugal (February 12, 1761). The Portuguese action, however, did not address slavery in the colonies.
Slavery was widely practiced. Brazilians of all classes owned slaves. Slaves were not only owned by upper and middle class Brazilians, but also by lower class Brazilians. There were even slaves who owned other slaves. Unlike slavery in the rest of the Americas. slaves were not restricted to manual labor on plantations.
The small Portuguese population meant that here were openings for urban occupations, including some that were skilled and evem managerial.
The limited Portuguese female population meant that there an extensive mestizo population and eventually mulatto population developed. Unlike English North America, there was only a limited numbers of Portuguese families that emograted to Brazil. The Portuguese who came predominately men. like the Spanish Conquistadores in therest of the Americas. The Portuguese term was Bandeirantes. They came as conquerors seeking gold not as fmilies seeking religious freedom. The lack of Portuguese women meant that the men who came had no outlet for their sexual impules other than the Amerindian women. The result was that the Brazilian colonial population develoved a very substantial Mestizo popultion descending from the offspring pf Portuguese men and Amerindian womem. The legal foundation of slavery was not as well founded when the Portuguese founded the Brazilian colony. As a result, the tretment and relations with Amer-Indians, as bad as it was, was not as brutal as the way that captive Africans would be treated when they began to arrive (17th century) and then arrived in large numbers (18th century). One historian writes, ".., the crown began to recognize mestizo, or mixed native and other race, individuals as pseudo-Portuguese who were not to be enslaved. This allowed for the 'white' population to remain in control of the insanely more numerous slave population because sexual relations with Indians were not as openly discouraged." [Lamb] The slave system was more fully developed as captive Africans developed. The Portuguese do not seem to have had the same moral reservtions that northern Europeans had toward relations with Africans, at least the intensity of this feeling was less profound. Brazilian society proved much more open to this than United States society. We are not sure just why. The earlier developed of a Mestizo population and the degree to which Brazilian 'Whites' had Amerindin blood may have been a factor. And the overall small number of Portuguese women who came to Brazil must hve been a factor. The occuption of Portugal by Islamicized African tribes may have been another factor here. As in the Caribbean, Brazilian sugar plantantions were very close to death camps, requiring the constabt arrival of new caotives to replenish the workforce. Survival required developing relations of some kind with the slave masters. And here the women had the best chance. Slave women had not way of resisting. Often it was purse avarice, essentially rape without legal condequences. But in some cases real bonds of affection developed. Some slave masters looked after their multto children. But at any rate, light-skinned slaves were mote likely to find privlidged posuriins in Brazil slave society. And light-skinned men had condiderable lattitude for upward mobility. And slave women could advance through relations with Portuguese/Brazilian men.And the most likely to achieve manumission.
We do not yet have much information on how Brazilian slaves were dressed. For that matter we do not yet have much information on historic Brazilian clothing in general. Much of Brazil is located in the tropics which affects clothing. Based on available drawings, it looks like many Brazilian children went naked. We do not have details as to age and gender. This was surely most prevalent on plantations and in rural areas. This also occurred in the United States, at least on southern plantations. We suspedct it was more pronounced in Brazil for climatic and cultural reasons. It also appears tghat many Brazilian slave women did not cover their breasts. Again this seems more pronounced on plantations than the cities. As far as we know, this was not the case in the United States. Most images we have seen suggest that slaves generally went barefoot.
Potugal was a British ally in the struggle against Napoleon. A French Army crossed the Pyranees, launching the Peninsuar Campaign. As the French Army approched Lisbon, the Portuguese royal family fled to Rio de Janeiro (1807). This made Rio the new capital of the Portuguese empire which made considerable sense. Brazil was much larger and more prosperous than Portugal. Napoleon dominted the contindnt for more than a decde. Napoleon's Gran Armee, however, was destroyed in Russia (1812). The French were forced to withdraw from the Iberian Peninsula. The Portuguese royal family chose to stay in Brazil because of the unselttled situation in Portugal. King Joao VI made Brazil a kingdom equal to Portugal in status (1815). Joao ruled from Rio for several years. The only challenge was the Pernambuco Revolution (1817). Joao returned to Portugal (1822). He left his son Pedro to rule in Brazil. When his father began to rule from Portugal, Pedro defied him and declared Brazil an independent empire (September 1822).
Brazil developed the largest slave population in the world, substantially larger than the United States. The Portuguese who settled Brazil needed labor if they were to develop large estates and mines in their new Brazilian colony. They turned to slavery which became central to the colonial economy. Landless Portugese peasants did not emigrate to Brazil in large numbers. Prices varied substantially. Miners needed men who were healthy, young and strong and were prepared to pay the highest prices. Brazil had begun to turn to slavery in the 15th century as explorers began moving along the coast of Africa. With the discovery of the Americas, the Portuguese attempted to enslave the Native American population as well. This did not prove successful. The Native Americans died in large numbers, both because of slave rading, mistreatment, and the lack of resistance to European diseases. The Portuguese found captured Africans to be a valuable trading commodity as Europeans began to settle the Caribbean islands. They also began transporting Africans to their Brazilian colony. Slavery became particularly important in the mining and sugar cane sectors. Slavery was also the mainstay in the Caribbean islands with economies centered on sugar. Estimates suggest that about 35 percent of captured Africans involved in the Atlantic slave trade were transported to Brazil. Estimates suggest that more than 3 million Africans reached Brazil, although precise numbers do not exist. Africans were delivered to the major ports (Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife and São Luis). Here they were held in a shack until they were sold. Portuguese Prime Minister Marqués de Pombal abolished slavery in Portugal (February 12, 1761). The Portuguese action, however, did not address slavery in the colonies. Slavery was widely practiced. Brazilians of all classes owned slaves. Slaves were not only owned by upper and middle class Brazilians, but also by lower class Brazilians. There were even slaves who owned other slaves. Unlike slavery in the rest of the Americas. slaves were not restricted to manual labor on plantations. The small Portuguese population meant that here were openings for urban occupations, including some that were skilled and evem managerial. The limited Portuguese female population meant that there an extensive mulatto population developed. And light-skinned men had condiderable lattitude for upward mobility. And slave women could advance through relations with Portuguese/Brazilian men. Potuguese society was much more open to this than United States society.
Even after Brazil declared independence, Portugal continued to hold its African colonies and a few Asian outposts. Brazilian independence was the most conservative of the Latin American revolutions. Brazil was the only monarchy among the Latin American nations. A factor in Brazil's conservatism was the importance of slavery in the colony. Brazilians wanted nothing to disrupt slavery and the economy and social structure was based on it. Brazil resisted the anti-slavery movement and the Royal Navy's efforts to stamp out the Atlantic slave trade. Brazil had the largest number of slaves in South Americ. And unlike the Spanish coonies did not move towad abolition after independence. Charles Daewin was horrified at what he saw when the HMS Beagle stopped Braziliab ports. [Darwin] The issue of slavery became the primary domesti issue during the reign of D. Pedro II--te second reign (1840 to 1889).
The most important slave rebellion in Brazil occurred in the northeat--Bahia (1835). Quilombos (autonomous communities of runaway slaves) existred deep in the interior where it was difficult and expensive for colonial authorities to supress.
There were also occassional riots and uprisings in urban areas of Bahia.
A variety of factors, inclusing Ethnicity and religion motivated the slaves. The Yoruba were at the center of the rebellion. There were both Muslim and non-Muslim Nagos (Yoruba) and related ethnicities.
One source suggesta that the city of Bahia in the 19th century was surging with slave resistance.
The rebellion is often referred to as the Malê Revolt. This refes to the ancient Mali Kingdom. It is from this area that most of the Yoruba came. In Yoruba 'imale' was a term for Yoruba Muslim, which originally meant a Malian in general. The rebels were primarily Malê . It was not a Jihad or Islamic uprising athough the ring leaders were inspired by Muslim teachings. Both Malê and non-Malê participated. A group of African slaves and freedmen in Bahia during Ramadan launched a rebellion against the Government (January 1835). Many wore talismans containing texts from the Koran and necklaces with the image of the Haitoan leader President Dessalines. The rebels failed to take their major objectibes and secure needed arms. Extensive fighting took place in the streets before the rebels wrrte supressed.
The rebellion changed the history of slavery in Brazil. It substantially increased fears of white fears of African rebellion.
Freed slaves were deported to Africa. Slaves were subjected to a more ruthless slave system. [Reis]
Brazil did, however, begin to cooperate with the British in ending the African slave trade. Brazil signed a treaty with Britain to abolish its slave trade in 3 years (1826). Before the treaty came into force, Brazil committed to following the terms of the 1817 Treaty between Portugal and Britain. Brazil decides move forcefully against those engaged in the slave trade by assessing fines and inflicting corporal punishment. They also declared that slave trading vessels arriving in Brazil would be confiscated (1831). Brazil ordered ships to be searched on their arrival at Rio to enforce the 1831 Decree (1832). Brazil was the last Latin American country where slavery was still permitted. It was also the country with the largest slave population. Developments here were thus more important than all of the rest of Latin America combined. Ye country agreed to end the slavectrade earlier, but in the 1850s began to move against the institutin of slavery itself. It would, however, take another four decades to finally end slavery. The country closed its slave depots south of Rio de Janeiro (1851). Next the Emperor issued a decree emancipating slaves after 14 years of service (1854).
Brazil continued as a monarchy for several decades before a republic was finally proclaimed (1889).
Brazil was a major desination of the Atlantic slave trade. Brazil justs out into the Atlantic and was thus a much shorter run for the slavers. Brazil had the largest slave population in the world, substantially larger than the United States. Pedro II was a ruler of conservative mindset. He came to see slavery, despite its economic importance to Brazil as inherently evil. Pedro began a series of measures liberating Brazilian slaves. He was posed to entirely abolish slavery. His measures against slavery met oposition from major landowners and the military, the leadership of which was drawn from the landed elite. The Emperor was on a trip to Europe when his daughter, Princess Isabel serving as regent, issued a decree abolishing slavery (May 13, 1888). This essentially did away for the last bastion of slavery, although forced labor cotinued for some time, in the Western Hemishere and ended what remained of the the African slave trade. Princess Isabella's decree is known as the Golden Law. It was widely praised in Europe. Abolishing slavery was the last major action taken by the Brazilian royal family. Brazil proved to be the last Western Hemisphere country to abolish slavery.
Slavery has a huge impact on Brazil. It affected both the economy and the ethnic make up of the Brazilian population. The importation of such a large number of Africans into a colony with such a small number of Portuguese, profoundly affected the ethnic ballance. The level of captive Africansm transported to Brazil also meant that unlike North America, Africam culture was not thoriughly wiped out and thus had a significant impact on Brazilian culture (food, music, dance, religious practices, and behavior). This is especially the case in Rio and the northwast where many of the slaves were concentrated to work in the sugar plantations. It has been more than a century and a half after emancipation and the impact is still obvious. Brazilan Africans are a huge part of the poor in the country. A good represention of this can be seen in the street children. And they are under represented in the upper echelons of Brazilian society. The question is why? Certainly white racism is part of it, although among the Portuguese, racist thought was not as intense as among many other Europeans, in part because of the Moorish influence. What is often ommitted in modern discussion od racism and slavery is the full extent of the imopact of slavery on African-Brazilians and African-Americans. Some but not all of the modern population dynamics can be blamed on poverty which is commonly the case. As part of modern PC culture such discussions are supressed.
Brazilian slavery is imprtant enough to study in its own right becaus of its impact on Brazil and Brazil was the largest single recipient of captive Africans. But it also throws a light on two debates raging in America--the 1619 Project and Crirical Race Theory (CRT). Actually there is not a debate underway. TYhe leftist teachers and professirs pushing both concepts do not dare debate it, they want top push it without debate, because thy know that neither concept can sustain real, honest scholarly scrutiny. Motive how President Biden has deployed the FBI against parents who dare object to CRT beung taught in the schools. (Notice we do not say discussed--but being 'taught' as fact.) A good example of this was a lecture by Dr. Christopher Bonner at the University of Maryland. His lecture was varrioed by C-Span. At the end of an excellent lecture on the brutality and evils of slavery, he tells his students that slavery "made the United States great". But if course all you have to do is look at Brazil. If the 1619 Project and CRT are correct, Brazil would be the world's great economic superpower. Or the NAZIs, Japanese militarists, and Soviets would have prevailed in the 20th century. The obvious fact is that America became great because slavery was a small (but not inconsequetial) part of the American work force and America prospered because free labor and capitalism emeged as the dominant force in the economy. Agrarian slavery actually was a weakpoint in the American economy as demonstarated early on by the Civil War (1861-65). And the continuing impact of slavery is why the Southern states have been the less prosperous section of the country--less prosperous for both blacks and whites. These simple facts refute both the 1619 Project and CRT. Slavery was undoubtedly evil and brutal and captive Aftricans treated terribly, but it was not central to the creation or success of America. It created great wealth, but only for a small number of plantation owners. What made America great was free labor, proved time and time again in the 19th and 20th century.
Graham, Maria. Journal of a Voyage to Brazil, and Residence there, during part of the Years 1821, 1822, 1823 (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown).
Lamb, Thomas. Portuguese relations with indigenous people of Brazil, HSTCMP 358 (Spring 2015).
Reis, Joao Jose. Arthur Brakel (trans). Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia. This was one of the Johns Hopkins Studies in Atlantic History and Culture.
Taunay, Carlos Augusto. Manual do agricultor brasileiro (São Paulo : Companhia das Letras, 2001).
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